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    Smiths Grove, KY

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  1. Patrick

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    Started a kiln shed. Should be done by the end of this weekend. Going to be 14'x10'. 9ft high in front and about 7 1/2' high in back. Won't put up walls until later - if ever. Just a little 2' rain blocking wall on the front up near the roof, as most of our storms/prevailing winds will be hitting the front of it. Once it's done-enough, I can negotiate a future meter location and bury a gas line to it. My goal tomorrow is to get the roof done (Ha!) and then call around to see what I can find out about the bricks - thanks for the pointers Mark! Rae, thanks for the heads up re: cats and arches. I'll keep that in mind. Unfortunately, I have a personality tendencies that want to say not just "Rae told me so" but also "... and she was right!" We shall see. Most of the brick (95%) are Davis Savage. Neil and Mark, I absolutely agree with the fuel costs being higher. Since I am not going the wood-fired route with this one, I have considered salt/soda. I definitely see myself procuring some soft brick in the future. ... Still a lot up in the air. We'll figure it out though. Hope you guys/gals have a good weekend.
  2. Patrick

    How did you learn to fire your own kiln?

    +1 on learn by doing. See what works and do that again. See what doesn't work and don't do that again/make adjustments to your kiln. The largest problems I have had with gas kilns I fashioned was stalling them out before target temp because my exit hole(s) were too small. Rather have too large of an exit flue you can close down than one that's "just the right size" based on head scratching. (+1 what Neil said.) Congrats! Regrading hoods/vents. I've just used HVAC ducting, sheet metal, snips, rivets. The photo will give you an idea. Not ideal, but it's cheap and works to get majority of the hot air out of my 100 year old wooden garage. The metal gets hot enough to screw up the galvanized finish (which is probably toxic by some measure) but that's about it.
  3. Patrick

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    Got them home safe and sound.
  4. Patrick

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    Digging the photo Mark! Maaan, you made the 70's look good! LOL. ... And leave them ponies alone unless you wanna be poor! (or a pony breeder - they do pretty well) Spent a lot of time chewing on this today, and I think I'll stick with just gas for this kiln. I'd rather have a kiln that did one thing well than two things inadequately. Getting a gas kiln up and running (zoning, permits, codes, etc concerning gas company and local ordinance and building/gas codes) is an absolute non issue. I've dotted my i's and crossed my t's there. I'll be building it under a standalone shed. Firing gas would also be a non issue. A wood kiln would not be against any ordinances either BUT (and it's a big fat but!) our lovely little community is still small enough where if the right person took the initiative about excessive smoke, an ordinance could quickly come into existence, and I wouldn't know about it until our one police office knocked on my door. (He's a really nice guy.) Not interested in suppressing that wonderful feeling in my guts every time I started firing a wood kiln. Still beating the bushes for info regarding the Davis brick - might end up being a try and see kind of thing. No biggie. Here some of my thoughts & figures on the kiln so far. Mark, we are on the same page regarding 1st pick a standard kiln shelf size (12x24 - check.) and size the kiln to that. Ergo, 27 cubic feet (3x3x3). The reason the 6" wiggle room on each side is I really like the Abernathy kiln idea. "Put heat where you need it." Makes sense to me. In my previous post, I mentioned "power burner" and to be more accurate should have said forced air burners, which I have decided to build. Several reasons for this: (1) I'll have 7" WC on the gas. Blowers would give me more flexibility than not. (2) No chimney required, although I will make a flue box with damper for another option for tweaking atmosphere - unless you all have a better idea. Might be unnecessary - not sure. (OBTW: Has anybody ever tried a forced-air wood fired kiln? No chimney needed? I've heard of some using underground silicon carbide pipe to get more air to certain parts of anagamas. Just brainstorming. Almost seems like heresy though.) Hard brick vs IFB: I agree with just about everything you said, Mark. The fuel cost calculations I did in planning this out used the btu/hour/cubic foot for different kiln material provided by the generosity of Marc Ward at Ward Burners. He stated that he was conservative in his figures - rather have the available heat and not need it than need it and not have it. I am assuming he knows what he's talking about. Estimated fuel costs for my current price of natural gas (I can almost hear some of you laughing already) for a 14 hour, cone 6 firing with 9" hard brick, 27 cu ft kiln would be in the range of $34-$44. Dropping it down to 7 hours would be a little over $20. The same times with a 9" IFB, 27 cu ft kiln would be $31 and $15 respectively. I don't think I would consider that difference "sky high". -- In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. -- And I know there are a LOT of variables to this not mentioned. OBTW: Propane costs for 9" hard brick, 27 cu ft, cone 6, 14/7 hours would be $155 and $103. Propane with 9" IFB, 27 cu ft would be $90 and $72. Yeah. My jaw hit the floor too. My current prices for nat gas per btu is $0.000006. Propane is $0.000029. (Same number of decimals in both. 5x higher.) If I have erred in my calculation (aside from the FACT that calculations are in no way obligated to conform to reality), please let me know. If anybody wants the spreadsheet I made to beat my head against all this with, let me know. Unresolved desires: First: I want a catenary arch (in the same way I've wanted a Jeep CJ since I was 15 years old)!! In Olsen's book he talks about ways to build arches with straight brick by angling, supporting edges, and wedging. I get it. ... But does it work? It's not the same as arch bricks. I get that too. But if done right (whatever that means), what will happen in 2 years, 10 years, 20 years? Or is this good for sprung, bad for cats? Or vice versa? Or neither? Or both? (Mr. Baymore? Ms. Selsor? Bueller? Bueller?) I'll probably try it just to see what happens. How would that work with Abernathy's burner ideas? Dunno. If I became convinced I could do a catenary arch kiln with straight bricks that wouldn't fall apart in 5 years, would I build it instead of a sprung arch Abernathy? Hmm. I think I'd want to give it a try. Second: I want to work with homemade castable refractories. Some research is out there (thank you, Mr. Lowell Baker). And a catenary arch would seem like a good opportunity to cut my teeth. Given all that, here's where I stand right now: Unless someone with more catenary arch experience convinces me otherwise, I'll probably build something like an Abernathy with a sprung arch - all hard brick. Use insulated castable for large door blocks. That will give me the wiggle room to see how well certain castable recipes do, and my second desire will be satiated. Make pots and learn to fire that one. Until I get that one up and going, I'll make do with my smaller kilns. Later, I can let the lusts for a wood fired kiln and a catenary arch kiln battle it out in my head and heart. (Man, these are great problems to have!) Tis where I'm at. Still no takers on Davis fire bricks? Mark, quick healing for your arm, friend.
  5. Patrick

    Used fire brick changed my plans

    I appreciate your directness. Hobbyist since 2015. The word "production" regarding pottery means different things to different people, and I won't assume I know what you mean. While all my eggs will not be in one basket, my goal is to become self-supporting with pottery and keep doing that until I quit breathing. ... And this is not an "if" but a "when". (The self-supporting pottery ... and come to think of it, the quit breathing too.) Kiln experience is with electric to propane conversions. Also fired barrel & pit. Currently have a 3 cubic foot and 8 cubic foot conversion kilns. Bisque and glaze firing each once a month, but have green ware and bisque constantly on the shelves. More of a time thing than a "wares ready to be fired" thing. Currently part time/as time allows, as I have full time employment in an unrelated field. Financial groundwork is being laid to allow a transition to self-employment. Pots. Big pots. And little pots. Generally functional pots. Had little interest in "art" when I started, but my unshakable curiosity is dragging me into that world. But I understand the significance of such things as "mugs sell". Playing? No. Too flippant a word. See line 2. What do you mean by "something else"? 44y/o 180 lb. No physical limitations. Wood/metal work is a given (torch/welder/saws/et.al.). Electric fires per year? None. Propane to Nat gas is a no-brainer from a $/btu standpoint. I see nat gas as reliable/predictable/reproducable. I currently see wood firing (which I will self-teach because I'm a fool like that) as a "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" kind of thing. So. Did that give you enough information to locate me in your paradigm? (I'm smiling. I hope you are too.)
  6. I still can't believe I am typing this, but I found about 1000 hard fire brick behind a co-workers garage. ... He told me to come get 'em. I asked what he wanted for them. ... He simply said come get 'em. So now I have a problem; I have to build a kiln. ... I know. I know. You fine folks would be happy to help remove this burden from me, and that is very kind and (uh-hem) expected. But I've reeeally wanted a larger kiln for a while now. Nat gas power burner. Circa 30 cubic feet. Gas company is crunching their numbers to get me 600k btu/hour to my shop. Normally fire cone 6. Might go back to 10 also. If you had to build a thousand-brick kiln that you could fire with both nat gas and wood, what would you build? (Local waste disposal company said I could have all the wood I wanted, just come get it) ... Gosh it's great to have these kinds of problems for once! I used to feel like this looking at the Sears catalog before Christmas! OK. Question for you guys who've seen a brick or two in your time: Empire DP (Known. Check.) Scratching head on 3 other types (googled to no avail other than Davis Fire Brick Company, Oak Hill, OH): Davis - Savage Davis - OHC Davis - Hi Grade Ring a bell with any of you guys? Guessing since they were paired with Empire DPs (colleague salvaged them all from same location 11 years ago), crossing fingers that they all have about the same rating. I'll definitely place Empires in hot face areas. Not sure how many Empires there are. If I have enough, great. If not, I'll place the others where they can be removed/replaced without having to contort myself too much or as non-hot face floor. Going to pick them up this weekend. I'll stop this one here, and maybe start another about the kiln when I get them all home safe and sound. Thanks y'all. Pat
  7. Nerd God, I love this place! - Thanks.
  8. Just very thin shards off of the rims as seen in the photos above. I thought crawling was more of a body/glaze non-adhesion, coagulation kind of thing - kind of like water on a Rain-X windshield.
  9. Quick update: soaked room temp test bar again for 24 hours (did NOT heat it first to drive off ambient, indoor moisture). Pre = 44g and post = 46g. Crazy huh? Regarding crazed glazes, those were the ones I chose not to use. Ran with the ones that did not craze or only slightly crazed. Narrowed my repertoire down to 4 glazes: 1 opaque whitish base, 1 transparent, and 2 tenmokus. After chewing on the testing that I am going to do to tackle this problem (thanks again for helping see it), I have just about decided to drop down and play in the neighborhood of cone 6 for a while. But Nerd, I appreciate your adjustments to the cone 10 recipe I was using. I will try it out, as I don't see myself abandoning the cone 10 world.
  10. Thanks for the informed replies. I LOVE this forum for that reason. You guys/galls are great. Nerd: (1) re: absorption: A fired 44g shrinkage bar weighed 45g after a 24 hour soak at room temp. Shrinkage was just shy of 12% Confession: Spent much more time investigating what makes a glaze tick and took body recipe on faith. ... Oops. Thanks for helping see what is becoming glaringly obvious. (2) Shiver appearance. They are extremely thin and relatively smooth. No obvious course particles. (3) Yep. Goldart - not Gladart (sounds like a inverse pun right about now) Question: Can you put me on the information trail of understanding the significance of clay body alkali molarity, et.al. Again, did some glaze homework, so I'm familiar with certain concepts, but obviously have clay body homework to do. Thanks. Min: (1) Wasn't purposing to to shiver test. These were on a cup and a bowl - quarantined the entire lot until I can figure out what is going on. Thought I'd nailed it with test tiles - had a few glazes that crazed and a few that didn't. Made slight adjustments and ran with it. The application difference was in glaze thickness on the pot. On the pots that shivered, none of the shivers happened where glazes overlapped, and that got me thinking along the line of glaze problems. Again, I'm seeing that the body might be screaming "Hello, McFly!" LT: I've got pics on camera. Let me get them off, crop, and post them, and you can see what I'm talking about. The rims aren't really too thin IMHO. Thanks ya'll.
  11. Has anybody ever had a glaze that, when applied "normally" - think slow dip/double dip, 1/16" or so - does fine, but when applied thinner - quick single dip only - shivers at the edge of cup/bowl? I've got 2 glazes that did it. Not sure if this is just a thickness issue or if my body/glaze fit is close enough to be ok thick, but shows some truth when applied thin. Oh by the way: The firing was a pretty strong cone 10 reduction. Not sure if that would change anything. Wonder if this is the kind of fit that does fine until 6 months later. Any ideas? Did thermal expansion tests with test tiles for these glazes, and they all came out fine - albeit with 3 layers of glaze on the edges though. Thanks. Pat Clay body OM4 - 22 Gladart - 22 Redart - 11 Hawthoren 40m - 43 Grog - 3 Glaze 1 Custer - 61 EPK - 20 Whiting - 18 Glaze 2 Custer - 21 EPK - 5 Whiting - 11 Silica - 40 Iron Oxide - 15 Unwashed Ash - 8
  12. I guess my response would be along the lines of: "I know. I know. But of all the pointless things we do and make, I find it one of the most worthwhile." And I would then try to help that person understand they really don't understand what they are saying. "Die Kunst ist einer Tochter der Freiheit." - Friedrich Schiller Translation: Art is a daughter of Freedom. Wouldn't be a bad assumption to make about the Spoilsport, and try to help free them up a little bit.

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